Your annual 4th of July cookout is quickly approaching, or perhaps you’ve been invited to one. Whether you’re expecting vegetarian/vegan guests, you’ve newly transitioned to vegetarianism yourself, or you’d just like to incorporate more meatless recipes to give some variety to your cookout menu, there are all kind of ways to prepare meatless options.
Before beginning, remember that most vegetarian and vegan foods are more fragile than meat, and do not contain as much fat. Therefore, clean and well-lubricated grill is essential to successfully grilling vegetables. It’d be a shame for those beautifully grilled peppers to stick to the grill!
Traditionally, vegetables have been considered a side dish in most meals, but at a cookout they can take center stage as the entrée. Almost any kind of vegetable is great for grilling. Complement your meal by serving them over pasta, rice or polenta. You can also make them into extraordinary sandwiches with a soy-based cheese and some freshly baked rolls or bread. Cut the vegetables lengthwise into thin slices in the case of zucchini and eggplant, or into thick rings, in the case of onions, tomatoes and peppers. If you’d rather have your veggies in handy bite-size pieces for serving with pasta and the like, try using a special pan for the grill with small holes that keep the veggies from falling through the grill and being lost. And probably the easiest way to grill vegetables on the grill is shish-ka-bob style!
Over at our house, we are pretty much obsessed with Beyond Meat Burgers. They are incredibly easy to cook on the grill (read: don’t stick) and the flavor and consistency is incredibly satisfying. These are at every 4th of July, and I highly recommend them if you are looking for a cruelty-free, plant based alternative to the real thing. Many meat eaters can’t tell the difference when they try this nutritiously superior and much more eco friendly burger.
Don’t forget to balance out those grilled vegetables with some fresh fruit salads, perfectly chilled and juicy. Watermelon, strawberries, grapes, and citrus fruits all complement one another well in a delightful fruit salad prepared with non-dairy whipped cream. Also use fruits to experiment with some fun smoothies and slushies for the kids – they’re fun and better for them than sugary sodas.